HOUGHTON, Mich. – Now that the snow has finally made its appearance, the Keweenaw snowmobile season is finally here.
Although every attempt had been made to open the passageway on time, the warm start to the season has delayed the event by nearly a month. The Keweenaw Snowmobile Club has recently opened the snowmobile crossing beneath the Portage Lake Lift Bridge and is busily grooming trails across the Upper Peninsula.
“The city of Houghton even reached out to the airport earlier to see if we could get some snow from them,” says Club Vice President Chad Vanbennekom. “We exhausted pretty extensive options to try and get this open earlier in the season.”
As a process, the city collects snow from around the area and dumps it on the crossing for the club to work with. Even so, Vanbennekom stated that the delay has had a significant impact on businesses dependent on snowmobiler patronage.
“Every business owner that we’ve talked to in the Keweenaw, Houghton, Hancock, and north all the way to the tip has seen a huge effect from the lack of snowmobilers,” continued Vanbennekom. “A lot of businesses have extended their downtime and kind of just stayed closed until it snows. But now, everyone is opened up and excited.”
Safety continues to be a recurring message, even though all are eager to have riders on the trails again, and the the club and community encourage users to exercise caution and drive safely.
“It’s like early-season riding, early December when we first start,” says Club Trail Boss Justin Rogan. “There’s a lot of snow, but that doesn’t mean everything is good yet. It still has a lot of work to be done, water holes need to be froze, and the trees that have fallen down in the storms need to be cleaned up, but after that, it should be pretty nice.”
Rogan says that by the weekend, the majority of trails should be in good shape to ride. The club also encourages anyone interested to join the club and help out. To check out club membership, click here.
— with files from uppermichiganssource.com